Magic Man Elevate Synthpop with Before the Waves

What a time for Magic Man! Ever since their amazing performance at Franklin Field back in May, Rock On Philly’s been smitten. They’ve managed to elevate synthpop to a level that we frankly should have seen coming. Magic Man take elements of synthpop and mix them up with a tight indie rock sound and infectious songwriting that cranks out and impressive and catchy tunes. Their debut EP You Are Here is a triumph, and debut LP Before the Waves is a thrilling continuation of the Magic Man journey.

The EP and the LP overlap with four of the EP’s five songs, and the new songs are a brilliant addition. Among them, “Catherine” makes a distinct impression. It’s got an exciting pop vibe that pairs nicely with the suave synth. Of course, the band’s lead single “Paris” still shines brilliantly on Before the Waves. “Paris” uses space masterfully, keeping an eye on how the rhythm plays out throughout the song and making every second unexpected. The built-up anthemic chorus is a well-executed culmination for each verse, so the payoff throughout this song is satisfying and exciting.

Another new track, “Too Much“, also has a fun take on rhythm that mixes things up. As with “Paris”, there’s nice attention to space and a great focus on simplicity. None of the tracks on Before the Waves is overworked or overproduced, and “Too Much” makes wonderful use of spareness, but the sound is still full and inviting.

Final track “It All Start Here” is a beautiful album closer that could have done an equal job as album opener. Its climactic nature works well with Magic Man’s sound, building slowly and purposefully with each verse and chorus. It caps off the entire album with a distinctive polish and focus that ties everything together perfectly.

Synthpop’s been on the rise for a while now, what with CHVRCHES, Phantogram, and The Naked and Famous (among many others) making their mark. But a star has surely been born in Magic Man. The group blends genres without a second thought and produces a tight, designed, yet organic sound that’s everything we’ve been wanting from synthpop/synthrock. As if You Are Here wasn’t strong enough, Before the Waves takes the band’s ideas and inspirations to the next level. Keep an eye on these guys. There’s no telling what’s going to come next for them, but let’s hope it’s nothing but good news! Rock on, Magic Man!

Magic Man are opening for Panic! at the Disco at Festival Pier on August 9! Rock On Philly’s certainly going to be there. Are you?


  1. Lauren S

    July 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Love this album and the synth pop movement that has been happening, great article!

  2. Wakana Narisako

    July 23, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Love their sound. Wish I could go see them at Festival Pier!

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